UK producer looks abroad for Christmas turkey crowns

A Kent turkey producer has decided to play the supermarkets at their own game by importing turkey meat for the Christmas market.

Turkey farmer and poult supplier, Phil Baxter, from Cottage Farm, Sevenoaks, broke out of a 28-year tradition of only producing dry plucked, farm fresh turkeys this year by offering his retail and wholesale customers cheaper turkey crowns, turkey saddles, and boned and rolled turkey joints from abroad.

“Now, with the growth of the joints and cut-ups and the amount of imported meat on the market, we feel we cannot survive by marketing just our own product. We have to widen our horizons,” said Mr Baxter.

His Christmas flock of whole birds has been steady at 2000 for several years and will continue to be traditional farm fresh and retail at £8/kg or £9/kg unlike the imports, which will be about £5/kg. Mr Baxter is confident the imports will capture some of the Christmas turkey trade from the supermarkets.

Speaking to Poultry World at the annual banquet and show of the Anglian Turkey Association, he said: “Up until now we have been producing and marketing a top-of-the-range turkey to 5% of the population. Now we are aiming for the other 95%.”